When winter storms come along, we often don’t stop to think about the damages it might cause to our outside AC unit. We most often worry about damages to our vehicles and our homes. But parking our cars in the garage and prepping the house for winter aren’t the only things we need to do.
We should also take the necessary steps to prepare our home’s outside AC unit for the winter as well.
As the temperatures drop outside, it’s not uncommon for the outside units to become frozen. When this happens, we’re left without the heat in our homes that we need during these colder months.
If your AC unit is in danger of freezing over, or if it’s happened to your unit in the past, then you’ll want to learn some steps that you can take to prevent this from happening. Here’s our guide on how to keep your outside AC unit from freezing over in the winter!
1. Find the Circuit
Your unit should have an air conditioning circuit nearby. Find the circuit and flip the switch to turn it off. There will most likely be a metal or plastic lid that’s covering the circuit.
Once you flip the switch off, you’ll prevent the unit from turning on when it’s warmer outside than usual for the winter. This will prevent water from accumulating inside the unit, which can later freeze.
2. Clean the Unit
You should then begin to clean the unit out. It’s normal for outside units to have different kinds of debris stuck inside them. You can lightly wash the unit off with a garden hose.
Be sure to clean any bird droppings, dirt, and bugs from the unit. Then, using your hands, remove any branches, twigs, leaves, and grass from the unit. You’ll then want to allow the AC unit to dry.
3. Create Foam Pipe Covers
To prevent the pipes from freezing, you can create foam pipe covers to keep them warm. Foam pipe covers are for the exterior pipes on the unit only. You’ll need to cut the foam to shape of the pipes.
Once you place the covers on the pipes, you won’t have to worry about them freezing as much because the covers work as insulators. To keep the covers in place, you can use duct tape and wrap it around them.
4. Use Plastic or Vinyl Coverings
If you want to cover your unit during the winter, be sure to use plastic or vinyl coverings. Check with your unit’s manufacturer to see if they make a cover specific for your unit. Otherwise, choose something that’s waterproof.
To keep the cover in place, you can wrap vinyl ropes around the cover while it’s on the unit. You want to ensure that the cover is wrapped tightly to protect it from being blown away with harsh winter winds.
5. Check for Refrigerant Leaks
A great way to ensure your unit can power through the cold winter months is to make sure that everything is working as it should before winter comes. One way to do so is to check for any refrigerant leaks. When your unit is low on refrigerant, it can cause the unit to work much harder than it should.
When this happens, your unit will freeze. This can happen in the winter or any other season. However, it’s a good idea to ensure there are no leaks before entering the winter.
6. Change the Air Filter
Another reason why your unit might freeze whether it be in the winter or not is due to a dirty air filter. Change your unit’s air filter before the winter months come. If an air filter is dirty, it stops the airflow from reaching the return air duct as it should.
When this happens, there isn’t enough airflow to reach the evaporator coil. If the evaporator coil doesn’t have enough airflow, then it’ll develop a layer of ice on it. To prevent this type of freezing from happening, change your air filter once a month.
However, when preparing for the winter months, you might want to check the filter right before the winter begins. Then, check it regularly throughout the winter more so than you normally would.
7. Ensure Blower Fan Is Working
The blower fan is another important feature of your AC unit that should be in proper working order before winter comes along. If your blower fan isn’t working as it should, this could lead to a freeze in the coils as well. If the blower fan isn’t working properly or isn’t working at all, be sure to contact a professional heating and air conditioning service to assess the issue for you.
A professional technician will be able to check all aspects of the blower fan for you and determine what the best next step is for repairing or replacing it.
8. Inspect the AC Unit Regularly
After you’ve taken all necessary steps to keep your outside AC unit from freezing during the winter, be sure to inspect the unit regularly. If you decide to place a cover on the outside of your unit, check it at least once a week to ensure the cover is still secure and in place.
When inspecting the unit, you’ll also want to brush off any snow, water, and ice from on and around the unit. Remove any debris from in, on, and around the unit as well.
Stop Your Outside AC Unit From Freezing Before It’s Too Late!
When the harsh months of winter start to creep up on you, follow these steps above to prevent your outside AC unit from freezing. Following this guide is the best way to ensure you and your AC unit stay warm during the colder months!
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